Trinity made many improvements when they first took over. One of those was earmarking money for improving employee relations. Such as a Christmas dinner. This was something Brighton had quit doing. Not that they ever had a Christmas dinner for the shop. They did have an annual company picnic in the summer. But this was discontinued before I ever started working there. There was an open beer tap, people got drunk and rowdy, somebody’s wife was insulted, and there were fights. So Brighton quit having the picnics. They did give out a ham at Christmas. Something else they did was give a gift to each employee as he reached a five-year mark in his employment. Both Trinity and Enerfab have continued doing this. You get a catalog of gifts to choose from. At first the gifts were pretty lame. My first gift was a cheap plastic clock to hang on the wall. But at each five-year mark the quality of the gifts to choose from improved. The last gift I’ll ever receive, for my 40-year anniversary, was a Jeep hybrid bicycle, an excellent ride.
Since the Christmas dinner Trinity initiated was held at the shop, no alcohol was served. The shop was cleaned spotless, tables and chairs were set up in the aisles, a caterer brought in a feast, and the shop and office employees ate together. There were drawings for gifts. And we still got our hams. It became an annual event. The first Christmas dinner in 1987 was the dinner the personnel manager Bob E. was snubbed at. He had just retired, to be replaced by his secretary Cheryl K. She was a vast improvement. Cheryl actually helped people, instead of doing all she could to hinder us, like Bob. Anyway, when Bob E. showed up at the Christmas dinner he was given food, but nobody, from the shop or the office, would talk to him. I’ve never seen the rotten sob since.
Trinity also had a picnic, once. Since it was held at a private park, alcohol was served. Unlike the Christmas party, families were invited. Food was catered, we played horseshoes and softball. I got in a good shot at Dale B. He was the office person I usually dealt with while I was a committeeman. One time he came to get me and, without saying why, told me to follow him. He led me to the furnace room, where the controls for operating two heat-treating furnaces are. Dale opened the door and presented me the sight of the furnace operator, Mark K., sound asleep in a chair. Dale rudely awakened him and told him to go to the office to await discipline. Mark was mentally handicapped, so he meekly did as Dale bid. Geoff L. seriously hated Mark, and was anxious to be rid of him. But Mark was Joe K.’s, the maintenance supervisor, younger brother. So on the way to the office with Dale to deal with Mark K., I told someone to get word to Joe that his brother was in trouble. In the office Geoff L. joined Dale and me and Mark, who was in tears by now. Dale told Mark I had witnessed him sleeping on the job, which I had. I was told later I should have woke Mark up myself and told Dale I’d seen nothing amiss. But that just didn’t seem the right thing to do. Anyway, Geoff was on the verge of firing Mark when Joe burst in. He got Geoff to let him talk to Mark himself. He chewed Mark out, then Geoff sent him home for the day. But that was the extent of his discipline. Joe K. and the union argued that Mark was on strong medication that made him drowsy, and the furnace room was warm, an easy place to nod off, and stressed that Mark was handicapped. So Mark kept his job. But Geoff L. had really wanted to be rid of Mark K., so I probably got the blame for Mark still being employed, and this escapade was probably what got me sent to third shift not long after. Anyway, that’s one of the reasons there was bad blood between me and Dale. So at the picnic I was at bat in the softball game and Dale was playing short stop. I lined a bullet directly at him. He got his glove up just in time to save his face, the ball was hurtling right at it. It made a pop in his glove you could hear all over the park. I was out, but boy the look on Dale’s face was worth it. Everybody knew we had trouble between us, so they naturally thought I had been trying to hurt Dale. But I’m not that good at softball. I could not have aimed a shot like that to save my life. It just happened. But if people wanted to think I was that good and I was that mean, I was happy to go along with it. Especially if Dale thought I had done it on purpose. That was the last company picnic Trinity had. Although the Christmas parties continued.
When Enerfab took us over in December of 2002 they continued the Christmas party, and for several years a company picnic. Enerfab held theirs at Coney Island. Besides the catered meal we had the run of the park, including huge Sunlight Pool.
I and my wife took her granddaughter one year when she was 3. But they also had an open beer tap. Which inevitably meant drunken fights. So the picnic was discontinued. But Enerfab has done so much more for their employees. Which I’ll get to later.